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International Piano Competition II 2008                 
International Piano Competition I 2005

ADJUDICATION For the World International Piano Competition


piano competitionDr. Michael Baron, Chair of Adjudication

An award-winning concert pianist, Michael Baron performs over 40 concerts each year, including annual tours of Europe and engagements throughout the United States, Asia, and South America. Equally at home as a recitalist, a soloist with orchestra, and a chamber musician, Baron commands a diverse repertoire, ranging from Baroque compositions to world premieres of contemporary pieces. His virtuosity and musicianship regularly garner the highest critical acclaim. Baron received his doctorate in Piano Performance from The Ohio State University where he studied with the legendary American pianist Earl Wild. He also worked extensively in Italy with the renowned pianist Orazio Frugoni.

Dr. Baron serves as Professor of Music and Head of Keyboard Studies at the Bower School of Music at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida . He is also Honorary Professor of Music at Yantai University and Hubei University in the People’s Republic of China. A distinguished educator, Baron has presented masterclasses and workshops at schools, festivals, and universities throughout the world. He regularly serves as a jurist on regional, national, and international piano competitions.

An acclaimed master teacher, Dr. Baron’s students regularly win competitions throughout the United States and abroad. He is a popular teacher and presenter for teacher groups. Baron is the director of summer music festivals in Italy. Performances in the past year have taken him to Peru, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, South Korea, and Serbia, as well as U.S. performances.

Described as “consummate practitioners of pianism” (The Washington Post) Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem enjoy an international career as exponents of music for both piano duet and two keyboards. Aebersold and Neiweem celebrated 25 years before the public in 2006-07. They have been heard on RAI-TV Italy, PBS television, and on WFMT Radio in Chicago, where they performed an unprecedented series thirty live broadcast concerts covering virtually the complete four-hand repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries. The duo has appeared with orchestras internationally, including the Chicago Philharmonic and the Vienna Tonkünstler. They have been heard in recital in many cities throughout the USA and Europe, including Chicago, New York, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe, Vienna, Rome and Florence and the Ukraine. In Italy alone they have given over 200 recitals throughout Tuscany and Umbria. They have taken their two pianos to many community concert organizations throughout Midwestern USA and Canada. Recent concerts in New York include a pair of all-Schubert recitals at the Goethe Institute, and a 25th anniversary celebration concert at Merkin Hall. In 2005 they judged the 1st International Two-piano Competition “Twentyfingers” in Rome, Italy. Other highlights of the duo’s recent seasons include performances at the prestigious University of Vermont Lane Series, and the Detroit Institute of Art. In October 2010 they performed at the Odessa, Ukraine International Festival”Duo Dialogues,” and gave their 10th recital at the International Music Festival “Pitten Classics” in Austria.

Aebersold and Neiweem are founders and directors of the NEA award-winning Chicago Duo-Piano Festival, held annually at the Music Institute of Chicago. They have given masterclasses and workshops at schools including Northwestern University, Dartmouth College, University of Vermont, Northern Illinois University, Lawrence University, and have guested at MTNA State conventions. The duo has commissioned significant new works for the piano duo, including Joseph Turrin’s “Symmetries” for Two Pianos, “Great Movements” Sonata for piano, four hands and “Novel Dances” for two pianos by Patrick Byers.

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem met in Italy in 1970 as young solo performers at a music festival in Umbria. They were married in 1973 and have devoted themselves to the exclusive study of the duo repertoire since 1981. They are currently artists-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago. Claire Aebersold is a native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and is a graduate of the New England Conservatory. Ralph Neiweem hails from Evanston, Illinois and is a graduate of the Juilliard School. Both completed graduate studies at Northwestern University and received artist diplomas from Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy. Their common teachers include Irwin Freundlich, Theodore Lettvin, John Browning, and Orazio Frugoni, at whose urging they became a duo. They are currently Artists-in-Residence at the Music Institute of Chicago.

Former Adjudicators of International Reputation and Esteem from former Competitions have included:

Dr. Michael Baron

Prof. Renato Premizzi

Dr. Claudio Herrada

 Dr. Bill Seymour

Kevin Sharpe

Dr. Falko Steinbach

Dr. Tatiana Vetrinskaya

Peter Ziethen

 Dr. Beryl Lovitz 

Michael Mauldin

Robert McKenna

All final adjudications are anonymous in nature.